1/29/2020 Assistant professor of anthropology Melanie Beasley was invited to serve as an isotope expert at a forensic workshop hosted by the International Committee of the Red Cross in South Africa. Thousands of migrants die each year along perilous routes in Africa and beyond, many without identification. The workshop is a collaborative humanitarian effort to help determine how stable isotope methods can be implemented to help identify migrants who die each year.
1/6/2020 Congratulations to Dr. Dada Docot on her recent publication, "Taking the Long Route: Ethnographic Metacommentary as Method in the Anthropological Film Practice," Current Anthropology 60, no. 6 (December 2019): 774-795. In this article, Dr. Docot introduces “ethnographic metacommentary,” an experiential, processual, and protracted approach to ethnography, and shows how ethnographic metacommentary is a productive thought process that fleshes out ruptures in the filmmaking process that are often concealed from the audience, and even from the filmmakers.
12/12/2019 Laura Zanotti with Presence to Influence team members Dorothy Hogg (Northwestern University) and Emily Colon (University of Maryland) joined thousands in Madrid, Spain, to conduct collaborative event ethnography at the 2019 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP25 meetings. Many thanks to the Purdue Climate Change Research Center in providing the credentials.
12/6/2019 Andrew Flachs has been awarded an Enhancing Research in the Humanities and Arts grant for the research project, “The Interactive Story Map of the Cotton Commodity Chain.” This project will combine spatial data with interactive media and first-hand accounts to illuminate the cotton commodity chain through a free, online Story Map. Congratulations, Dr. Flachs!
12/6/19 Erik Otárola-Castillo has been awarded a Global Synergy Research Grant for Faculty for the research project, “Climate Change Effects on the Migration and Subsistence Patterns of the First South Americans.” This project is a growing collaboration between Dr. Otárola-Castillo, Dr. Amanda Veile, Dr. Francesca Fernandini (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú), and municipal leadership in the province of Cañete in Lima, Peru to shed light on the initial migration patterns of the first human colonizers of the New World. Congratulations, Dr. Otárola-Castillo!
12/5/19 Valerie Miller has been awarded a Global Synergy Research Grant for Students for the research project, “Mothering with Others in Dominica: Effects of Allomaternal Support on Maternal Attention and Stress!" This biocultural project will take place in Dominica and will address the relationships and interactions between mothers' stress, attentiveness, emotional well-being, and social support. It will investigate how allomothering behaviors affect maternal well-being. Results will reveal the ways in which maternal psychology is shaped by biological and sociocultural influences. Congratulations, Valerie!
12/4/2019 Congratulations to Erik Otárola-Castillo on being awarded an Exploratory Research in the Social Sciences grant for his research project, “Were Humans Responsible for the First Mammal Mass Extinctions in North America 13,000 Years Ago?” This project applies quantitative techniques developed by Otárola-Castillo and collaborators to determine whether humans created the marks on the bones of several North American mammoth, mastodon, and other megafauna during hunting and butchery. Results will enhance our understanding of the interactions between humans and Pleistocene age megafauna.
12/4/2019 Congratulations to Andrew Flachs on being awarded an Exploratory Research in the Social Sciences grant for his research project, “Comfort Foods: Biocultural Diversity and Community Resilience in Rural Bosnia.” This project will ask how the rural Bosnian community is adapting agrarian management traditions to support foodways and montane biodiversity as it rebuilds from the 1990s war, adjusts to high unemployment, and grapples with climate change.
12/3/2019 Michele Buzon has been awarded a Global Synergy Research Grant for Faculty for the research project, “Foreign and Indigenous Contributions to the Development of Christianity in Medieval Nubia.” This project aims to provide new data on the origins of the Christian church in Nubia and the processes of conversion in the local communities via the analysis of markers of geographic identity (strontium isotope analysis) and cultural identity (burial practices and other artifacts). Congratulations, Dr. Buzon!
11/11/2019 Holly Okonkwo studies how race, gender, and place affect the experiences of women scientists and technologists of color. Holly Okonkwo, applied anthropologist has worked with women in both the U.S. and Africa to gain a sense of their place within the science community. Read more about her observations in the CLA THINK magazine.
10/23/19 Stacy Lindshield is giving a talk entitled "Nutritional Ecology of Savanna Chimpanzees at Fongoli, Senegal" on October 23rd at the Center for Human Evolutionary Studies at Rutgers University. Her presentation is a part of the 3rd Annual Lembersky Conference on Advances in Primate Nutritional Ecology, Health, and Energetics.
10/23/2019 On October 30th, Dr. Otarola-Castillo, Dr. Amanda Veile, and the Cerro de Oro Archaeological Project (PACO) are collaborating with the Universidad Nacional de Cañete, the Provincial Municipality of Cañete, and the District Municipality of San Luis to conduct a community-training event titled “Cerro de Oro - A thousand years of Buried History”. This will be a small symposium where Cañete students will receive training results of the most recent discoveries from Cerro de Oro for interpretation to their communities.
10/22/2019 Andrew Flachs’ book , Cultivating Knowledge: Biotechnology, sustainability, and the human cost of cotton capitalism in India, illuminates the local impact of global changes: the slow, persistent dangers of pesticides, inequalities in rural life, the aspirations of people who grow fibers sent around the world, the place of ecological knowledge in modern agriculture, and even the complex threat of suicide. It all begins with a seed.
Update 1/29/2020 : Assistant professor of anthropology Andrew Flachs has received significant notice tied to his book, Cultivating Knowledge: Biotechnology, Sustainability, and the Human Cost of Cotton Capitalism in India (University of Arizona Press, 2019). The book draws on ethnographic fieldwork with farmers growing genetically modified and organic cotton in Telangana, India. Andrew investigated the human responses to global agrarian change, including the dangers of pesticides, inequalities in rural life, the aspirations of people who grow fibers sent around the world, the place of ecological knowledge in modern agriculture, and even the complex threat of suicide. His work has been recognized globally.
10/22/2019 Our new faculty member, Dr. Risa Cromer, has won a Wenner-Gren Foundation Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship to support the writing of her book, Ex Utero: Frozen Embryo Politics in the United States, next year! The Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship is awarded to anthropologists in the earlier stages of their careers to support a new generation of scholars in devoting themselves full-time to writing.This fellowship is part of the Wenner-Gren Foundation’s mission to “support the publication of significant works that promise to make a solid contribution to the field and beyond.” http://www.wennergren.org/programs/hunt-postdoctoral-fellowships
10/16/2019 Dr. Erik Otarola-Castillo and Dr. Amanda Veile recently met in Cañete, Peru with the municipal leadership of the Cañete province, and Dr. Francesca Fernandini Parodi (PUCP; PI of Cerro de Oro, San Luis), to develop a collaborative archaeology and culture heritage project centered on engagement with community members, their archaeological training, and support for local archaeological education and preservation.
8/26/2019 Congratulations to Michele Buzon for winning a grant from the National Science Foundation! Michele plans to investigate the impact of climate change on the isotopic signature of available strontium during the last ~4,000 years within the Nile River Valley.
8/26/2019 Five proposals out of 25 have been selected for funding in the Education Ecosystem sector of Purdue's Integrative Data Science Initiative. Principal Investigator Nicole Kong, Libraries, School of Information Studies, and her team of investigators are one of the five winning proposals. Ian Lindsay, Associate Professor of Anthropology served as one of the Co investigators for this research. The award is called “Integrating Geospatial Information Across Disciplines” this will be used to develop a GIS graduate certificate in the coming year.
8/22/2019 Michele Buzon started working at the archaeological site Tombos in modern-day Sudan while she was still a graduate student. She and a collaborator, Stuart Tyson Smith from the University of California, Santa Barbara, have been excavating the Nubian site since 2000. Read more and watch a video featuring her work in the Nile River Valley here.
8/22/19 Evelyn Blackwood, professor Emeritus published an article in the Washington Post. This piece draws on her upcoming book, “Dreams of a New World: Bay Area Lesbian Histories”
8/6/2019 - PhD Candidate Katie Whitmoreand Professor Michele Buzon have recently published an article in the International Journal of Paleopathology that focuses two individuals from the archaeological site of Tombos who lived with a form of dwarfism.
7/26/2019 - We’re excited to introduce six new Concentrations in several specialty areas within the Anthropology major! See the Undergraduate Studies page for more details.
7/26/2019 - Congratulations to Alison Kirkham (MS 2018) who has been selected as the recipient of the 2019 College of Liberal Arts Master’s Non-Thesis Award for her project titled, “That’s Disgusting: Perceptions of Arthropods and the Categorization of Insects as (In)edible in the United States.” The award recognizes individuals whose work reflects distinguished scholarship and research at the master’s level.
Alison is currently the Head of Marketing and Research with the Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch in Denver, Colorado.This small start-up farms and processes insects for human consumption both locally and at an international level. Alison assesses customer perceptions, needs, and purchasing habits, as well as helps the farming aspect become more efficient.
7/11/2019 - Congratulations to Dr. H. Kory Cooper, Matthew Pike, and Garett Hunt on their recent publication in the Journal of Archaeological Science. In "Defining a ‘reasonable geographic framework’: Path Distance as native copper provenance in the Arctic, Subarctic, and Northwest Coast"
7/03/2019 - The Zanotti lab welcomes Eduardo Rafael Galvão, Maria Gabriela Fink Salgado, Pat-i Kayapó, and Laura Torrejano as visiting scholars this fall semester. A special thanks to the Honors College for inviting Pat-i to be a scholar in residence. They will be working on projects in Colombia and Brazil on socioenvironmental impacts of artisinal mining, community-led art and media initiatives, and sustainable solar in low electricity environments. We welcome them to the department!
4/17/2019 - Purdue Anthropology alumni, Dr. Sarah Schrader has just published a book based in part on her dissertation. Activity, Diet and Social Practice: Addressing Everyday Life in Human Skeletal Remains
3/21/19 – "Amanda Veile, an assistant professor of anthropology at Purdue University, and her team report that indigenous mothers in farming communities in Yucatán, Mexico, breastfeed for about 1.5 months longer following cesarean deliveries than they do following vaginal deliveries. Veile believes this is possible because the mothers live in an exceptionally supportive breastfeeding environment."
3/19/2019 - Congratulations to Laura Zanotti and colleagues on facilitating Purdue to receive a Sigrid Rausing Trust Foundation Grant. This work will support workshops with indigenous leaders in the Brazilian Amazon and travel to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change COP25 in Santiago, Chile.
2/28/2019 - Dr. Andrew Flachs studies the roots of anxiety and aspiration in Indian farmer's GM seed choices in a new paper with American Anthropologist and Purdue Today.
2/14/2019 - Congratulations to Isabelle Ortt, who has been selected as the recipient of the O Michael Watson Outstanding Senior Award! She is completing an Honors thesis on skeletal remains with Dr. Michele Buzon.
2/14/2019 – Congratulations to Baylee Bunce for becoming a Fulbright U.S. Student Program Semi-finalist. Baylee graduated with honors in our Anthropology class of 2018.
2/12/2019 – Dr. Andrew Flachs work is featured in American Anthropologist. Planting and Performing: Anxiety, Aspiration, and “Scripts” in Telangana Cotton Farming
2/12/20109 - Dr. Amanda Veile has co-authored a new paper in the "American Journal of Human Biology," which examines rising cesarean birth rates, and their relation to childhood infectious disease, in a South American indigenous population, the Argentine Qom.
"Birth mode and infectious morbidity risks in Qom children of Argentina"
2/12/2019 - Dr. Amanda Veile authored a new paper in the "American Journal of Human Biology" with Sydney Tuller, a second-year master's degree student in Anthropology. The article examines the relationships between rising cesarean birth rates, prolonged breastfeeding practices and childhood infectious disease in indigenous Mexican subsistence farmers, the Yucatec Maya.
"Birth mode, breastfeeding and childhood infectious morbidity in the Yucatec Maya”
2/12/2019 - Dr. Amanda Veile authored a new article in the "Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science” with Valerie Miller, a PhD student in Anthropology. The article summarizes theoretical literature on breastfeeding practices throughout human evolutionary history.
"Duration of Breast Feeding in Ancestral Environments"
1/14/2019- Congratulations to Laura Zanotti, she has been appointed to be the new Associate Director of the Center for the Environment. We are so pleased that Laura’s longstanding leadership in the Center and her talents are being recognized with this appointment that will also permit her to continue her research, teaching, and other departmental engagements. We look forward to new opportunities for us to be involved as C4E continues to build out its vision, programs and supports for interdisciplinary participation in convergence research on environmental and sustainability issues.
12/18/2018-The Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships featured Dr. Ian Lindsay for his research using drone technology in their Dimensions of Discovery announcements. You can read about his work here.
12/5/2018- Congratulations to Michele Buzon who was awarded a 2018-19 Exploratory Social Sciences Research Grant for her project “Pluralistic Identities in "Nubia: A Bioarchaeological Examination of Entanglements at Post-Colonial Tombos".
12/5/2018- Congratulations to Amanda Veile who was awarded a 2018-19 Global Synergy Research for Faculty grant for her research project entitled, “Urbanization, Migration and Indigenous Health in Peru”.
11/7/18- Andrew Flachs uses tools from GIS and ethnography to map the last two decades of small and alternative agriculture across the United States in the journal Rural Sociology.
11/7/2018- New research from Andrew Flachs explains why the same Indian farmers end up making very different decisions about GM cotton, conventional rice, and heirloom vegetables seeds in the Journal of Agrarian Change.
11/05/2018 - Laura Zanotti is giving a talk entitled “Indigenous Rights in the Anthropocene” on November 7th at Colgate University, Hamilton, New York. This event is co-sponsored by the Native American Studies Program, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Department of History, Environmental Studies Program, and Africana & Latin American Studies Program.
10/25/2018 - On October 26, 2018, Ellen Gruenbaum presents the keynote lecture on “Tensions and Movements: Female Genital Cutting in the Global North and South, Then and Now” for the 9th FOKO Conference in Åkerberg, Höör, Sweden. FOKO is a regular conference of Nordic researchers who work on the topic of FGC, and this year it is sponsored by the Centre for Sexology and Sexuality Studies at Malmö University and the Forum for Africa Studies at Uppsala University. Following the conference, Gruenbaum presents a lecture at Uppsala University on “What Can Medical Anthropology Contribute to the Field of Global Reproductive Health?” for the International Maternal and Child Health program at the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, in collaboration with the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life, and Welfare.
10/25/2018- Stacy Lindshield and her collaborators received a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Great Ape Conservation Fund to investigate novel pathways for mercury bioaccumulation in Senegalese chimpanzees. This transdisciplinary and applied research project aims to understand how the mercury released from gold mining moves through savanna ecosystems and potentially impacts critically-endangered chimpanzees living near mining communities. Dr. Lindshield works with colleagues from Ball State University, North Dakota State University, USDA Forest Service, Université Chiekh Anta Diop, and the University of Minnesota.
10/18/2018 - Congratulations to Dr. Laura Zanotti for receiving the Purdue University Faculty Scholar Award! This award recognizes faculty members “who are on an accelerated path for academic distinction." Dr. Zanotti was selected for her high profile work as an environmental anthropologist and interdisciplinary social scientist.
10/16/2018 - PhD student, Melissa Torquato (Otarola-Castillo) won the 2018 College of Liberal Arts Master's Thesis Award (non-thesis). Her Master’s project, titled “Why do we farm?: A comparative assessment of the foraging-farming transition”, examined the effects of climate on food security & risk management during the prehistoric foraging-farming transition in the North American Midwest.
10/15/2018 - To celebrate our 10 years as an independent department on campus, we hosted two days of enriching and thought-provoking conversation, collaboration, and connection. Since our department's beginnings in 2008, we have made great leaps to encourage deeper thinking about a variety of topics related to the human experience. To celebrate this milestone we hosted a symposium to enhance and continue these conversations, with presentations from our graduate students, thoughtful discussion surrounding the future of the discipline and the department, and a keynote by Nina Jablonski.
10/9/2018 - Andrew Flachs recently published an article that explores how we measure the impact of Genetically Modified crops in India in the journal Science & Technology Studies.
9/27/2018 Graduate student Sarah Huang recently presented her research titled "Amidst Rice Production: Conversations in Farmers' Food Security in An Giang Province, Vietnam" at An Giang University's The International Workshop on Water Governance, Climate Change and Food Security in Minority Communities, Vietnam.
9/27/2018 Dr. Stacy Lindshield recently chaired the special symposium “Understanding Savanna Chimpanzees” at the International Primatological Society Biannual Congress on August 20, 2018 held at the United Nations Office of Nairobi, Kenya.
9/25/2018- Congratulations to Dr. Laura Zanotti on being recently named a University Faculty Scholar. The University Faculty Scholars Program recognizes outstanding faculty members at the West Lafayette campus who are on an accelerated path for academic distinction. Eligible faculty must hold the rank of tenured associate or full professor and have been in that rank for no more than five years.
9/20/2018 Isabelle Ortt has been awarded the Office of Undergraduate Research Scholarship for 2018-19. She will work with Dr. Michele Buzon on the demographic and paleopathological analysis of people buried in a tomb at Tombos.
7/12/2018 Dr. Melissa Remis' research on the variation in gorilla foraging ecology and its implications for understanding the evolution of primate diets was recently highlighted in the July issue of Scientific American titled "The Real Paleo Diet".
4/26/18 Dr. Jennifer Johnson presented at the Rachel Carson Center for the Environment and Society in München, Germany. Dr. Johnson received a Carson Writing Fellowship and was invited to present at the Rachel Carsen Center on April 19, 2018.
4/24/2018 Amanda Veile and collaborator Karen Rosenberg organized a symposium "The Evolutionary Causes and Consequences of Rising Cesarean Birth Rates," at the 2018 American Association of Physical Anthropologists Meeting (April 14 in Austin). The symposium drew together anthropologists, biologists, and practitioners who study cesarean birth using evolutionary and biocultural theoretical approaches. The symposium will now be converted to a special issue of the American Journal of Human Biology, with Drs Veile and Rosenberg as guest editors.
3/21/2018 - Melissa Remis and Amanda Veile received grants totaling $17,000 from the Purdue University Laboratory and University Core Facility Research Equipment Program! The funds will be used to purchase equipment that will expand the research and training capacities of our Bioanthropology laboratories.
3/19/2018 - Dr. Ian Lindsay has been awarded two internal equipment grants from Purdue’s Office of the Executive Vice-President for Research and Partnerships to update and expand his use of magnetometry and drone-based aerial thermal imaging of Bronze Age sites as part of his archaeological research in Armenia.
3/7/2018 - Dr. Ian Lindsay is featured in the annual report publication from the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships. The article discusses his research using drone technology in order to capture data from Bronze Age sites in Armenia, archaeological evidence that Nubians and Egyptians integrated into a community, and even married, in ancient Sudan. Read about his research here.
1/16/2018 - Dr. Erik Otárola-Castillo was invited to the Department of Anthropology at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire to present his work on “The Effects of Climate Change on the Diet of Great Plains Paleoindians” in their lecture series on Environmental Archaeology on January 18th at 12:30 PM.
O. MICHAEL WATSON AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING GRADUATING SENIOR
Congratulations to the following students who received the Department of Anthropology's top honors for academic achievement and service, the O. Michael Watson Award for Outstanding Graduating Senior. The Award is named in honor of our legendary professor, Dr. O. Michael Watson (1936-2012), whose dynamic undergraduate courses excited decades of anthropology students. Each year, the student selected goes on to be nominated for consideration for the College of Liberal Arts Outstanding Student Award.
2019 Isabelle Ortt
2018 Bridget Curry
2017 Kate Yeater
2016 Jonathan Micon
2015 Michael Lockman
2014 Katelyn Revis
2013 Alisha Yadav
2012 Donald Pattee
2010 Monya Anderson
2009 Marcus Glassman
2008 Sarah Kinder
2007 David Fitzsimmons
WALTER HIRSCH AWARD
Walter Hirsch was a Purdue faculty member in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology from 1947 until his retirement in 1989, who specialized in social movements and the sociology of science. His family and friends established this award in his memory in recognition of his long-time interest in and support of graduate students. Each year, the award provides approximately $1,000 to help with the costs of dissertation research for one doctoral candidate in Anthropology and one in Sociology.
2015 Ingrid Ramon Parra
2014 Jonas Ecke
2013 Elizabeth Wirtz
2012 Sarah Schrader
2011 Franco Lai
2010 Katie Smith
2009 Lesley Daspit
Remembering Those That Went Before
O. Michael Watson (1936-2012)
Dr. Watson was born in 1936 in Knoxville, Tennessee, and grew up in Colorado. After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, he studied anthropology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and earned a BA and Ph.D. In 1967 joined the Purdue University faculty as one of the founders of the Anthropology Department. Professor Watson’s early research focused on proxemic analysis, which he published in Proxemic Behavior: A Cross-Cultural Study (Mouton, 1970). He subsequently turned to visual anthropology, which led to a number of publications and graduate seminars, as well as his production of the classic film Spirit of Ethnography. Professor Watson was one of the founders of anthropology at Purdue, and he devoted his career to the growth of the discipline and to the department. A renowned teacher and beloved professor, he won numerous teaching awards during his 40 years at Purdue. Generations of students took his love of anthropology and enthusiasm for human cultural diversity along with them as they pursued their many directions. Known for his energy and amazing ability to find humor everywhere, he is remembered for the joy and laughter he brought to so many lives. When Professor Watson retired in 2007, the Department of Anthropology honored him by naming our annual student award after him.
Jay O’Brien (1947-2013)
Jay O’Brien was born in New Jersey, in 1947 and grew up in California. He came of age influenced by the music, activism, natural beauty, and the social concerns of 1960s California. After being an exchange student in Sweden when he was 17 and doing a study abroad in Germany, he was inspired to become an anthropologist. He studied anthropology at Stanford University and the University of Connecticut (Ph.D. 1980).
Professor O’Brien studied the long-term effects of colonial regimes in Africa, and wrote his master’s thesis on Portuguese empire in Africa, 1415-1961. Subsequently, he spent 5 years in Sudan, researching agricultural labor and development, using political economy and ethnography to understand family dynamics, ethnic identification shifts, and development dilemmas in Sudan. Among his publications were three books—on political economy and development in Sudan, and on the intersection of history and anthropology.
His career was about social justice and the process of change, analyzing the conditions of poverty, the dilemmas of development, and their impacts on human cultural life. He became deeply engaged in teaching, achieving tenure at Lawrence University and teaching at a dozen other universities in Sudan, Sweden, Botswana, and the U.S. He came to Purdue in 2008 with his life partner, Ellen Gruenbaum, to be part of the newly launched independent Department of Anthropology.